|[D]||Minnesota's Online Resource about Combined Vision and Hearing Loss|
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Web Site Info:
DeafBlind people are rarely totally deaf and totally blind. Each individual's degree of hearing and vision loss is unique.
Marisa Bennett researched, designed and programmed the DeafBlindinfo.org web site, with periodic feedback from DeafBlind consumers, parents of deafblind children, and professionals who serve people with combined hearing and vision loss.
Ms. Bennett has more than a dozen years experience working with deaf, deafblind, and blind children and adults, and lives with several invisible disabilities herself. In addition, she has several years experience in informal sign language interpreting, and has aspired to become nationally certified as both a Sign Language Interpreter/Transliterator, and a Braille Transcriber.
For several years, Ms. Bennett took courses in sign language vocabulary and interpreting from Austin Sign Language School, where National Association of the Deaf current president, Kent Kennedy, was one of her instructors.
She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in Psychology from Carleton College, for which her senior thesis focused on gestural development and language acquisition of infants raised in signed vs. spoken language environments. For a semester, she studied German and audited a course in Austrian Sign Language in Graz, Austria.
After graduating from college, Ms. Bennett completed the first year of coursework in the Sign Language Interpreter/ Transliterator program at St. Paul College. In 2004 she began a Ph.D. in Sign Language Linguistics at Gallaudet University and plans to become a professor of linguistics with a focus on American Sign Language.
Educating the public and enhancing accessibility in the lives of people with disabilities have been the focus of Ms. Bennett's work experience. Over a period of several years, Ms. Bennett worked at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in various capacities. These included working as a teaching assistant in a class of deafblind, minimally language-skilled teenagers, a substitute teacher in all departments of the secondary school, and as a Residential Instructor in the elementary school dorms.
Then, she taught independent living skills to deafblind adults at DeafBlind Services, Minnesota, a non-profit organization serving children and adults with dual sensory disabilities. Ms. Bennett has also served as program coordinator of University YW, a non-profit organization focused on educating the public about various interlocking systems of oppression, and how to interact effectively as an ally to those who face oppression where one has privilege.
Recently, she contracted with Minnesota DeafBlind Association, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, as a consultant to the DeafBlind board members, as well as webmaster and fundraising manager, and with the Minnesota Department of Human Services - Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division as the developer and webmaster of this web site. In addition, she volunteers as editor of the Deafblindness page in the Open Directory Project.
For the 2003-04 school year Ms. Bennett is served as a tutor and mentor to deaf and hearing Minneapolis public school students in grades K-8, through the City of Lakes AmeriCorps program. She continues to design and maintain several accessible web sites. Some of her recent work includes the web sites for the Minnesota DeafBlind Association, the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota, and Anne Sullivan Communication Center.
Languages and codes have been lifelong fascinations, and Ms. Bennett learned Braille for fun at the age of twelve. She is highly skilled in German, French, and American Sign Language, and has basic skills in Spanish and Cued American English, a visual-manual mode of communication used by some deaf people.
Ms. Bennett is a natural teacher and has experience instructing groups in a number of settings and subject areas. She is an avid reader and connoisseur of information. Personal focus on self-advocacy, accessibility, and social justice inform her perspective.
Please complete our brief Feedback Form or send comments and suggestions to our Webmaster. This web site is funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services - Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division.
The URL for this page is http://www.deafblindinfo.org/author.asp